Common Specialities
Common Issues
Common Treatments

Things You Should Know About Chemotherapy

Written and reviewed by
Things You Should Know About Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is an integral part of cancer treatment. Anti-cancer drugs are used to target the cancerous cells and destroy them to prevent the spread of the disease. The very name of chemotherapy may invoke fear. However, this fear can be attributed to the misconceptions or incorrect portrayal of the treatment and its effects by the mass media. So, if you are about to undergo a chemotherapy session, then you should arm yourself with the facts about this treatment.

You will not have to stay hospitalized for long

It is a common misconception that chemotherapy requires you to remain hospitalized for days. However, the fact is, you will not even have to stay there overnight. A session can last from half an hour to four hours, after which you will be discharged.

There are different types of Chemotherapy

You may not be hooked up to an IV for your chemotherapy. You may be given chemotherapy pills that you have to take regularly or special chemotherapy creams that you have to rub into the affected place. You may also be given shots that will directly inject the drugs into your body.  

Hair loss is not inevitable

It is true that chemotherapy causes hair fall, but not all combinations of drugs trigger it. Similarly, you may not experience all the dreaded side effects of chemotherapy such as perpetual nausea, diarrhoea, aches and pain, loss of appetite, loss of the sensation of taste, and sores. You may experience some, as the intensity differs from one person to the next. The drugs given to you will determine the side effects.

The side effects may exhibit long after the treatment

Not all side effects show up during treatment. Chemotherapy can trigger extensive lung, kidney or heart damage, nerve destruction or infertility – the symptoms of which may not become evident for years.

‘Chemo Brain’ really happens

You may have heard people who have been treated with chemotherapy talk about memory loss, incoherent thought processes and fuzziness triggered by the drugs – and it does happen to many people. The drugs are extremely powerful and can send your bodily functions such as the secretion of hormones, out of whack which could cause these side effects.

Chemotherapy is utilized for more than just killing cancer cells

The primary function of chemotherapy is to destroy the cancer tumour and if that does not work, a doctor can recommend sessions for –

  • Eliminating the stray cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery
  • Shrink the cancer growth before you go in for surgery or other treatment

The Chemotherapy Diet

A special diet exists that can help mellow the intensity of the side effects of chemotherapy. Make sure you eat plenty of –

  • Proteins (meat, chicken, fish, soy products, dairy)that will repair your damaged cells and tissue
  • Calories to replenish your depleting reserve of energy
  • All the vitamins and minerals (colourful vegetables and fruits) to boost all-round good health
  • Make soup or broth with vegetables and chicken/meat if swallowing solids is difficult

Chemotherapy is shrouded with misconceptions, which may do a lot of harm. Get all the information you need to deal with this form of cancer treatment.

You found this helpful